Impaired sleep is a common complaint among patients undergoing major surgery and may be a contributing factor in postoperative pain. The provision of eye masks to patients after cardiac surgery may reduce postoperative pain through improvements in sleep quality.
To examine the effect of nocturnal eye masks on postoperative pain and sleep quality in cardiac surgical patients.
In this randomized controlled trial, 70 adult patients who had undergone cardiac surgery requiring immediate postoperative care in the intensive care unit were randomly assigned to sleep with or without nocturnal eye masks for the first 3 nights in the unit. A visual analog scale was used to assess pain intensity, and the Arabic version of the Richards-Campbell Sleep Questionnaire was used to assess subjective sleep quality.
A total of 66 patients completed the trial. A statistically significant difference was found between groups in mean total Richards-Campbell Sleep Questionnaire score over the 3-day study period (P = .001), with the intervention group reporting better sleep quality. A statistically significant difference was also found between groups in mean pain score on days 1, 2, and 3 (P < .001), with the intervention group having less pain.
Nocturnal eye masks are a simple, low-risk, low-cost intervention that may contribute to reductions in perceived pain in cardiac surgery patients.